Zearalenone is a resorcylic acid lactone produced by a number of Fusarium species. Zearalenone acts as a non-steroidal estrogen, binding to estrogen receptor and is uterotropic. Zearalenone induces reproductive problems in animals and, in some animal models, is thought to be a primary initiator of hepatic tumors. In vivo, zearalenone undergoes metabolic reduction to the more estrogenic zearalenol. Contamination of grains, notably maize, by Fusarium species gives rise to high levels of zearalenone and is regarded as an important food quality issue for both human and animal health.
Zearalenone is soluble in ethanol, methanol, DMF, DMSO, and has limited solubility in water.
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